People have done many terrible things to cockroaches in the name of fear: impaled them with a shoe, squashed them in a tissue, and water tortured them down the drain. Now People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is claiming that a government-funded neuroscience startup is doing terrible things to roaches in the name of education.
Backyard Brains in Ann Arbor, Michigan, which is backed by the National Institute of Mental Health, sells a $99 kit that lets anyone with time, patience, and a spare cockroach create a RoboRoach, a living cockroach whose movements are remotely controlled by its human caretaker. “It’s an educational kit, it’s not a toy,” says Backyard Brains co-founder Greg Gage, who adds, “we want people to learn about the biological systems.”
Using the same concept as deep brain stimulation, in which electrodes implanted in people’s brains help control symptoms of Parkinson’s and other…
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